Developer Did Not Meet Specifications
Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A
REM #LAW 714
By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin
Summary: A reader purchased a home from a
developer and discovered that the insulation was never installed. Ilyce and
Sam explain how to go about suing the developer.
Q: I recently bought a 3-family house in Brooklyn, NY from a developer. His
name is on the contract as well as his limited liability company’s name.
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I have reason to believe that there is no insulation in between the floors
of the home. The contract blueprint specifies “6" batt insulation
What should I do? Can he close his company leaving me nobody to sue?
A: The first thing you should do is determine whether there is six inches of
insulation between the floors.
Find a contractor that can cut a small hole in one of the ceilings to determine
if there is any insulation between the floors. If you find that there is insulation,
you will need to take no further action other than to patch and paint the hole
in the ceiling.
If you find that there is no insulation there and perhaps in one other test
hole, you will have confirmed your suspicions that there is no insulation between
the floors (or at least the floor you tested).
Once you have determined you actually have a problem, you’ll need to
find out what it will cost to fix the problem. If you can blow insulation into
the ceilings and can price out that solution, you will know where you stand
in terms of the cost of remedying the problem and have a number you can tell
the developer that he owes you.
If the seller signed the contract in his personal capacity and in his company
capacity, you may have the right to sue both the individual and the company.
If the company has no assets left in it, you may be able to follow the money
trail to recover the cash you need to make the needed repairs.
Your contract with the developer should provide that the developer would build
the home substantially in accordance with the plans and specifications. If there
was a change made to the plans and specifications, and the “blue prints”
you have are not the final ones, it’s possible that the developer changed
the insulation requirements for the building and you are looking at obsolete
However, if the plans you are looking at are the final approved plans, the
developer should have built the building in accordance with those plans. You
may have an action against the developer for breach of contract and perhaps
even under a consumer protection statute.
You may want to talk to a litigation attorney about your case and determine
if there are any consumer protection laws in your state that may allow you to
recover your attorney’s fees in case you sue the developer.
Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce
R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your
Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for
them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022
or contact them through Ilyce’s website www.thinkglink.com